Will the Philippines become a better country with Mar Roxas as its leader from 2016 through 2022? It remains to be seen, of course and, for now, people can merely speculate. But if recent history can be allowed to afford us a bit of insight on what a Mar Roxas presidency will likely be like, the following would be the standouts.
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(1) Current Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III will go scott-free.
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Mar Roxas is being groomed to be the next president of the Philippines so that he will pave the way for a happy outside-of-jail retirement from politics for his predecessor. Already, the list of things, big and small, that President BS Aquino could be thrown in jail for is growing. The president was behind the illegal appropriation of hundreds of millions of pesos in public funds towards shady “budgetary” notions such as the “Priority Development Assistance Fund” (PDAF) and his original creation, the “Disbursement Acceleration Program” (DAP) most of which allegedly went into the pockets of various legislators involved in the persecution of his political enemies.
Most recently, it has emerged following the tragic events in Mamasapano that led to the massacre of 44 elite police officers that BS Aquino could be a party to treason. The alleged perpetrators of the massacre, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, an Islamic terrorist organisation with known ties with international terror group Al Qaeda, was the key party in “peace” negotiation among equals that the Aquino government had involved itself in. A third party in these negotiations, the Malaysian government, has long been suspected to be supporting and even funding Islamic insurgents in the Philippines’ southern island of Mindanao.
Between these two big non-bailable offenses, plunder and treason, are a raft of small cases of gross mismanagement, nepotism, graft, and appalling instances of negligence that would also attract scrutiny and, eventually, prosecution. Suffice to say, President BS Aquino should really start assembling a kick-ass legal team to prepare for 2016. But with President Mar Roxas on his side, that might not even be necessary.
(2) The Philippines will continue to lack a strategic vision for its future.
Does Mar Roxas have a vision of what the Philippines might be in 2022 when his term as president ends? If so, we still have no idea what that vision may be. For that matter, none of the up-and-coming presidential candidates has articulated his or her visions for the Philippines. And even for that matter, Filipinos overall seem uninterested in what the future holds for their sad nation as evident in the way they generally fail to ask their candidates the right questions come election time.
In short, Mar Roxas is no different from any other presidential candidate. What then makes Roxas the superior choice as President BS Aquino and his henchmen would like us to believe? That’s a tough question that many have attempted but failed to answer with their pained manifestos on a future where Roxas is president. The only real argument defers to a tired old tradition of Filipino-style political thought — that Roxas represents the lesser evil. The guy that will “prevent a Binay” presidency. The man who represents the lowest common denominator choice of the Filipino people.
The conclusion is quite straightforward. Mar Roxas will be yet another Pwede Na Yan president like President BS Aquino is. And we all know how that option turned out.
(3) National security may suffer (although the traffic situation might improve).
Mar Roxas has lots of personal experience directing traffic — under the rain even. Indeed, in the aftermath of the devastation wrought by Super Typhoon Haiyan (local code-name: “Yolanda”), this expertise was the one on display to show that the Interior Secretary was on top of the situation. No one can deny that Mar Roxas is a “hands-on” manager. Photos of what seems to be Roxas using a hammer to drive nails into a school desk have also been circulating all over the Net. Add to his CV, too, his claim to the throne of Palengke King evidenced by his ability to carry around a sack of onions while smiling for the camera.
Unfortunately while he kept his hands dirty fiddling with carpentry tools and hauling sacks of farm produce, Roxas dropped an important ball when it came to maintaining a grip over the whereabouts of his own police officers. While he can now be excused from being an accountable element in the chain of command SNAFU that led to the massacre of the 44 Special Action Force troops in Mamasapano, what is inexcusable is his inability to keep himself in the loop in matters of consequence to the security of that national interior he is supposedly responsible for. With a belligerent world power gobbling up precious territory in the West Philippine Sea and what could be a Malaysian terrorist band rampaging across Mindanao, the Philippines can ill-afford a ball dropper sitting in Malacanang for another six years.
(4) Malacanang will continue losing the battle at the Public Relations front.
President BS Aquino’s bloated communications team has so far failed miserably to keep Malacanang afloat when it came to crucial public relations management. Indeed, as is currently the case, they already have their hands full keeping the statesmanship-challenged president himself looking and smelling good before his bosses (the “Filipino people” we are told). That focus on the president’s BS left Roxas looking really bad — a complete failure when it came to responding to the pointed questions of foreign media outfits like CNN in the crucial days following the Haiyan disaster and an utter amateur when it came to conducting himself properly before the public and addressing them when called to step up to the task.
If he wants to be president, Roxas really needs to work on his people skills by learning to control his famously foul cussing mouth. He even once almost got himself thrown out of a prestigious country club thanks to his renowned boorish condescending behaviour. In a political lanscape where popularity trumps all other virtues in a politician, Mar Roxas will likely run Malacanang to the ground if he does not hone his communication faculties and refine his manners.
(5) Korina Sanchez will be First Lady.
Yikes! Korina Sanchez as First Lady of the Philippines. That is gonna be interesting. The First Lady is supposed to complement the president and give his administration a much-needed “woman’s touch”. Sexist as that may be, it is a stark reality that the Philippines remains mired in a primitive “macho” culture composed of narcissistic male figures. Trouble is, Korina Sanchez is, herself, a showbiz personality. What is ironic about her is that, though she herself is a broadcast news “professional”, she has proven to be completely inept with dealing with the foreign media.
A Mar-Korina combination serving as the face of the Philippine Government is a disturbing prospect indeed. By the time the two of them make themselves comfy in the Palace, Filipinos will have already had to endure six years of President BS Aquino’s nganga face. How much longer will Filipinos have to put up with a government with facial issues? Apparently six more when Mar Roxas takes his seat in Malacanang in 2016.
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The future, indeed, does not look bright for the Philippines. Touted as the most “viable” option for president (translated in Normalspeak, the most non-evil candidate), Mar Roxas as most “winnable” candidate is a sad indictment of Philippine democracy. In the almost three decades since the Philippines supposedly “regained” its “freedom” from the “dictatorship” of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, Filipinos have all but blighted this otherwise brilliant Western model of modern governance. Rather than bring out the best in Filipinos, democracy had brought out their worst — turning them into a nation of in-fighting, sniveling, mudslinging, gossiping, lemming-like sheeple.
Is there no presidential candidate that can represent the best of them rather than the least bad? Filipinos still have a little more than a year to prove to the world that at least one good one can be produced by their 101 million-strong nation.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.